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Thursday - Sneaky

This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.

Galatians 2:4

As I took my aisle seat on an airplane, I noticed that the person sitting next to the window had this great big smile on her face. Not a normal smile, but a smile that says she knows something that no one else knows. That she got away with something.

She slowly pulled her hands from under the coat, revealing the cutest little puppy imaginable. She kept it hidden in her pocket as she went through security. And since it wasn’t metal, she flew right through.

It only took a second for people to notice. Everyone was standing up, admiring this adorable little puppy, which slowed down the boarding process. So, a flight attendant came to see what was going on.

When the flight attendant saw the puppy, she asked that it be put into its safety travel case for takeoff. When the woman said that she just carried the puppy in her pocket, the flight attendant calmly informed her that without a safe place for the puppy, she and the dog would have to get off the plane.

There’s not enough space here to describe what happened next. And good manners won’t allow me to repeat some of the colorful and descriptive language used by the passenger.

But all the trouble started when someone tried to be sneaky. They were doing something they knew to be wrong but did it anyway. They did their best to do it in such a way to hide what was going on inside their head. Inside their heart.

And that’s what’s going on inside the church in Jerusalem. Some people came in with a secret agenda. They weren’t there to worship Jesus, or to grow in the faith. They were the enemy that had snuck in through a crack in the walls. They quietly came in, gradually trying to move everyone.

And they weren’t interested in changing some small, minor idea. No. They were aiming at the heart of the most important thing that made Christianity different from everything else. They wanted to make people turn from faith alone in Jesus.

You see, when you trust Jesus’ sacrifice alone for forgiveness and being made a child of God, there is no room for anything else. Alone means alone. Nothing else. No one else. And that takes away any power we have. There’s no room for us to earn forgiveness. No way for us to do anything that get’s God’s attention. No way for us to pay our debt and get back on God’s good side. And that’s their problem.

If we have to do things to earn God’s forgiveness and favor, then some people are more deserving than others. Some are more holy and righteous. And that means they have more power in order to boss people around. They get to push around everyone and everything to get their way.

These people are called “false believers” and they were doing everything someone like that does. They sneaked in through the side door. They quietly came in without attracting a lot of attention at first. But their intent all along was to disrupt the freedom and joy of the early believers.

And what happens when you take away someone’s freedom by force? They become a slave. They lose their independence to be the person God made them to be. Someone becomes their master, telling them what to do. What’s right and wrong. Punishing them for any small act of disobedience.

Even though this took place about 2,000 years ago, it’s still being repeated today. Anytime someone says that it’s “Jesus and something,” or “Jesus plus anything,” you’re coming up to the same fork in the road.

So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.

John 8:36 NLT

Jesus says that it’s the Son that sets you free. Period. Nothing else. No one else. If there was something else, he’s have told us what it was. And when he sets us free, he doesn’t do it halfway. His freedom is totally done. Not a half-baked freedom, but a full freedom for today and all eternity.

Now, that’s a bold thing for Jesus to say about himself. If anyone else were to say that about themselves, it would be time to get up and run for the door. But when Jesus says it, he backs it up. Look at his life. His words. The way he loved and healed people. How he stood up for the right and the poor. How he always told the truth, no matter the consequences. The way he gave himself up.

Jesus was and is the most unique person in the history of the world. He was the only perfect person to walk the face of the earth. But more than that, he was also God. Walking for us. Walking with us. He was never sneaky. He always was himself.

Noodling Questions

  • Describe some things that you’re willing to be sneaky about.

  • How do you know when someone’s trying to sneak something in?

  • Was Jesus ever sneaky? Why?

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